2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
Those drivers who are already driving an electric car through Germany experience a rollercoaster of emotions. You fluctuate between euphoria and panic, as the self-experiment with the 34,390 euro Mitsubishi i-MiEV shows.
By Benjamin Palm
The future belongs to electromobility. By 2020, one million e-vehicles should be on the road in Germany alone - and "power" silently and at best with zero emissions. The biggest problems today are still the short range and the high purchase price of e-cars. But does this mean that it is not suitable for everyday use? We made the self-experiment with the 34,390 euro Mitsubishi i-MiEV and experienced a rollercoaster of emotions.
A sight that takes getting used to
The Japanese electric speedster is a very special eye-catcher. With its compressed little bonnet and a tail cut down like a hatchet, it already stands out from the crowd. He usually only gets a mocking smile from passers-by and other drivers. But drivers of the 3.48-meter-long Stromer can and must overlook the fact that they are driving one of the first electric cars available in Germany. You take a pioneering role and feel good. After all, they are doing something good for the environment if you disregard the fact that the electricity required for driving in this country is largely obtained from fossil fuels and is therefore still highly emissive.
The driver climbs into the interior of the four-seater full of anticipation. If you expect pure luxury in view of the high purchase price, you will be disappointed: Although electric windows, heated seats and air conditioning provide a touch of comfort as standard, the soft seats covered with gray fabric and lots of plastic on the dashboard are contrary to this. But these impressions quickly become secondary as soon as the driver turns the ignition key - and apparently nothing happens. Just a short tune in the style of a booting computer and the word "Ready" in the cockpit display tell you that the engine is already running. In the awe-inspiring silence that followed, you could actually hear a pin drop, it's that quiet.
Enthusiasm gives way to fear on the country trip
The astonishment is even greater as soon as the "D" gear is engaged via the automatic. The electric speedster then starts moving immediately, accompanied only by the rolling noise of the tires. The journey begins with a broad grin on his face. Past houses, passers-by and other road users who cannot hear the Stromer coming, and after initial confusion, thumbs up in appreciation. Hats off, the future is here. It is made possible by the 49 kW / 64 PS electric motor. Right from the start, it delivers a torque of 180 Nm, so that many a tired, smiling sports car driver is left standing at the traffic lights. The start is impressive, even if the electric engine runs out of air towards the rear. But that's enough for the city.
However, the initial enthusiasm quickly gives way to fear. In villages in particular, precarious situations arise again and again. Due to the lack of engine noise, pedestrians cross the lane without looking around first. They blindly rely on their hearing; they evidently think no more of a rushing cyclist than they do of a silent electric speedster. For the driver, this means heightened attention, and it is important to be ready to brake when passing by at the roadside. You drive carefully around corners and out of property exits so as not to have a pedestrian on the short bonnet.
The driver is also afraid to look at the digital display of the battery charge level. The lithium-ion batteries installed under the vehicle floor ideally allow a range of 150 kilometers. The journey home from work, which is around a fifth as long, shouldn't be a problem. When the first of 16 loading bars on the digital speedometer disappears after just a few kilometers, the driver's hands still get wet. After all, with an e-car you can't just stop at the gas station and fill up with fuel, you have to recharge the batteries in a charging process that sometimes takes several hours. Public charging stations are still in short supply. What to do? First of all, continue driving, after all there is still enough charge left.
However, the driver immediately regrets the drive onto the motorway, at 100 km / h, loading bar number two says goodbye, although 130 km / h should be possible at the top. In the driver's mind, all the horror scenarios of e-cars lying silently on the busy autobahn go through the head. But the Stromer goes on and on. The home apartment promises redemption, which finally comes into view. A look at the charge level forces the driver to give a respectful whistle: 13 charging bars are left after 30 kilometers, so at least another 90 kilometers are possible with the appropriate driving style. The corridor to the trunk, where the charging cable for the connection between the car and the socket is located, can be given away.
Suitable for everyday use, but expensive
Do electric cars have a future? No doubt. They are already suitable for everyday use, as the self-experiment has shown. The Stromer evokes both positive and negative feelings in the driver, which is not for the faint of heart. Even the high price for the size of the vehicle can initially be swallowed. But progress is known to cost.